Week 2 Summary

Thankfully I adjusted my WordPress theme during week 1 so I didn’t have to worry about changing much this week (although that didn’t stop me from playing around with all the different themes). The only thing I edited was my about page. While my about description is simple, I think it perfectly summarizes my educational goals for the course.

I also took to heart what the professor had commented on my blog regarding the different ways people use social media. With this idea in mind, I hope to become more engaged within the course and not hold back on the creativity. I began by applying this new outlook to the #dailycreate challenge!

  1. My first one wasn’t so creative; I just played around with MS Paint:

2) I had fun coloring this cow:

3) Share some love:

I initially struggled with the assignment banks and what we were supposed to do as a group. The directions weren’t clear in the beginning, but after some explaining I soon got it. I had the most fun working on my video assignment. I love movie trailers, they’re sometimes the best part about going to the theater. It allowed me to play around with film editing software and watch an old western in the process! The design assignment was also fun because it allowed me to learn more about a famous outlaw, Jesse James. My final assignment I chose was a writing assignment. I really enjoyed this one. It allowed me to reminisce on my past and think of constructive things I would tell 13 year old me. While I didn’t write long paragraphs, I felt that what I wrote contained the most important information a young teenage me needed to know.

I finally settled on an assignment bank idea which involved having a movie character interact with an object. I thought it would be simple and fun, allowing people to find funny movie clips full of great reactions.

This week was difficult. I found the work load greater than some of my 400 level courses, especially when considering the amount of effort needed for some of these assignments. While I had fun, I stressed about whether or not I was doing each assignment accurately or following the correct directions. Hopefully I can find a good balance with this course and the rest of my schedule for the coming weeks.

Writing Assignments – A Letter to You as a Child

Dear 13 year old Sophia,

No, not everyone is out to get you. I understand that mom and dad may seem like the worst people in the world, but they really aren’t. Stop picking on your little sisters. They’re going to be your best friends soon enough. Hug each one of them, especially Isabelle, she needs it. Don’t forget mom and dad!

I know you’re not the most optimistic child, but it does get better. You end up at a great school with some lifelong friends. You’re even taking this class (ds106) with one of them right now!

It’s going to be hard, but you’re tough. Just remember how important your family is, they’ll be there for you.

-21 year old Sophia

Design Assignment – Most Wanted Outlaws

For my second assignment, I decided to create a wanted poster for Jesse James. I used the website mobile fish and read up on the famous outlaw.

Wanted: Jesse James

Jesse James was a Confederate soldier who, following the wars end, created the James-Younger Gang. They robbed banks, stagecoaches and trains. He murdered a county clerk on accident, thinking it was someone else. A former confederate soldier sympathized with Jesse’s plight, and attempted to alter public opinion regarding the outlaw for the better. “Though he was famous while alive, he became even more so in death, when he was shot in the back of the head in his own home by a trusted friend” – 10 Gunslinging Outlaws of the American Wild West

Video Assignment – Trailer It

During the first week I was prompted to look up western movies that I had never heard of before. I was also forcing myself to stray away from the more recent films and watch an original spaghetti western. I was inspired by the assignment trailer it from the video assignment bank. Here is my attempt at a movie trailer for No Room to Die (internationally released as A Noose for Django) starring Anthony Steffen.

I initially thought it would be a very difficult assignment, but I had a ton of fun completing it! I played around with Windows Live Movie Maker until I was satisfied with the final product. It was really difficult keeping the trailer length down (I wanted to add in about 5 minutes worth of clips) but I wanted to make it as similar to a real movie trailer as possible. I hope you guys enjoy!

Social Media as Storage

I expressed my concerns regarding social media in my week 1 summary blog post, and professor Bond responded to my thoughts, stating that these platforms are used as storage for the multitude of different thoughts, opinions or artistic expressions individuals share.

His comment altered my perception of social media. Thinking of it more as a storage device makes the whole idea seem less boasting to the world about what is going on in your life and more “here is what has happened in my life, I can now look back on it whenever I’d like”. It’s a journal or a memory box. It allows the user, and whoever that user has approved, to view a timeline of their ideas and interests.

Of course there are individuals who use social media to garner attention, but I like to think that my cynical outlook has been changed for the better.

Week 1 Summary

Are you exhausted yet?

YES! There is a reason why I don’t have this many social media sites: I don’t know how to work them! It’s been a struggle setting up the multiple accounts along with learning how to publish/interact with the community. I can say that I spent my fair share of time becoming frustrated with flickr and getting overwhelmed by twitter. Thankfully I was able to get some assistance from a few other members in this class, and I was able to publish my DS106 Multimodal Introduction.

At the moment I can say I’m not quite sure if I will maintain these accounts following the completion of this course. There is something about preserving an online image/persona that not only tires me just thinking about it, but also concerns me. I’m not sure I want so many people knowing what’s going on in my life. To each their own! This course will provide me the opportunity to see if that’s something I enjoy.

As I stated in my western blog post, I’m excited to learn more about the themes that form the genre. I plan on watching an older film; while Django Unchained (2012) pays homage to the many topics within western films, I can’t say I’ve truly been exposed. I was surprised to see the character Django as the protagonist to other western films listed among the playlist provided by the professor. I had not realized that he was a constant character in the genre. This has provided me a starting point to begin my western film education


I have to disagree with “How the Western Was Lost (and Why It Matters)”; the article took the waning popularity of the genre as a dire outcome created by our society.

For a century plus, we have relied on Westerns to teach us our history and reflect our current politics and our place in the world. We can ill afford to lose that mirror now, especially just because we don’t like what we see staring back at us.”

To say that other film genres lack the ability to “hold a mirror” up to society is a vast overstatement. While to the author of that article westerns are an essential medium for social commentary, to me westerns serve as a reliable source of heroes and action packed adventure. While they may be quite predictable, (the town hero comes to save the day from the villainous bandit all while saving the damsel in distress), they remain as timeless stories of heroism and virtuous actions.

I was very excited to learn about the western theme of this course. This allows me the chance to review western film (all in the name of homework!) and develop a better understanding and appreciation for it.  I’m curious to learn of our next assignments and how they relate to this theme.